Stopped! Cat cannibalism at USDA testing center

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Cat at USDA testing facility

This is quite a long-running story. It was exposed some months ago. At a USDA testing centre (the Agricultural Research Service – ARS) young cats were being fed with Toxoplasma gondii infected cat meat imported from China and I believe dog meat as well. The cat meat industry in China is notorious for it’s brutality and total lack of animal welfare. Therefore this USDA sponsored testing program was doubly immoral.

Cat at USDA testing facility
Cat at USDA testing facility. An image of a cat at the Beltsville, Md., facility from documents already obtained by the White Coat Waste Project. (White Coat Waste Project)

The purpose of the testing was to investigate toxoplasmosis which is a widely discussed parasitic disease found in a high percentage of people but most often asymptomatically (without symptoms). Cat haters use the disease to criticise outside cats as they are primary carriers of the disease. Oocysts pass in their poo on a one-off basis.

There was uproar because this animal testing research had been going on for about 37 years at a cost to the American taxpayer of over $600,000. When the researchers had used the cats for their research they killed them with a ketamine injection to the heart (very painful) and incinerated them.

Senators (see picture below) stepped in to create a law to ban the practice but, thankfully, the USDA decided, under intense pressure, to shut down the research programme before there was a necessity for a law to ban it. There was also widespread public disapproval.

Reps. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., left, Mike Bishop, R-Mich., and Hannah Shaw celebrate.

There is a very nice picture (see above) on the internet of Hannah Shaw, a cat and kitten welfare advocate and rescuer, with the two senators who were promoting the federal bill referred to above. It kind of sums up what I would consider to be a victory of common sense and decency over a hidden and abusive animal testing practice.

You can read more about this story by clicking on this link.